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[Preview] Divisional Round Weekend: eight suitors for a ring

Green Bay, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Los Angeles, buffalo, san francisco and Cincinnati. The future champion is among these names. There are three games left for each franchise to clinch the supreme title. The three most complicated of the season. We will have to start with this Divisional Round.

A weekend which is not far from resembling the most exciting of the year with four matches, each more interesting than the other. Each qualified team has earned its place in this Final 8 and has arguments to win the cup in less than a month. The final sprint is on!

The duel: the Bucs offensive line vs. the Rams pass rush

Kick-off Sunday at 9:00 p.m.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2) – Los Angeles Rams (4)

For more than 20 years that he is in the league, we now know exactly how to bring down Brady : put constant pressure on him by chaining sacks and QB Hits to get him out of his rhythm. Much easier said than done. Especially since he arrived at Tampa Bay. This season again, the quarterback has one of the best offensive lines in the league (23 sacks collected only, 1st in NFL). Only the Saints… and the rams managed to achieve Brady regularly in 2021. In these three games, he was sacked at 10 times, almost half of its total for the season. Result, three defeats for the Bucs. Los Angeles so did it once. The players of Sean McVay will they be able to do it again? In any case, the young coach has one of the best pass-rushes in the league.

With players like Aaron Donald (12.5 bags), leonard floyd (9.5 bags) or Von Miller (5 bags), arrived during the year, rams have accumulated 50 bags in regular season (3rd in NFL). Domination in this sector even extended to the playoffs with a big game against the Cardinals. Kyler Murray was sacked only twice, but he was under pressure throughout the match, notably conceding a pick 6. Tom Brady will not have the capacity that it had Murray to run in all directions to save his skin. His line must be solid. Known she has been throughout the season, she still raised some concerns about philadelphia. Tom Brady has been tackled 4 times behind his line. The wounds of Tristan Wirfs, the right tackle All Pro, and from the center ryan jensen are no strangers to it. To see what physical condition these two players will be in this weekend.

Player: Derrick Henry

Kick-off Saturday at 10:30 p.m.
Tennessee Titans (1) – Cincinnati Bengals (4)

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He is THE player we are waiting for this playoff weekend. Unquestionably the best running back in the league, Derrick Henry could make a comeback. The runner has not been seen on a field since his broken foot against the Colts in week 8. Before that, he was again on the basics of a record season (219 carries, 937 yards and 10 TDs in 8 games). The problem is whether he will be there at 100% after this injury. For the time being, according to information coming from the Tennessee, everyone seems satisfied with the physical progress of the number 22. He even participated in his first training with contact. Officially, he is still on the injured list and we are waiting for the Titans activate it. Health will not be the only factor. The rhythm too. Henry has not played at high intensity since October 31 and he will not have time to get back into the bath quietly since he arrives directly at the heart of the matter.

Especially that the bengals aren’t used to being stepped on on the ground. Cincinnati even has one of the best defenses in this area (102.5 yards conceded per game, 5th in the league). On the other side of the ball, the men of Zac Taylor have certainly identified the weak point of this defense of Tennessee : the airs. Ground Solids (84.6 yards allowed rushing per game, 2nd in NFL), the Titans are much more in difficulty when it comes to closing the air sector (245.2 yards/game, 25th in the league). Joe Burrow (4611 yards, 34 TDs and 14 INTs), Tee Higgins (1091 yards and 6 TDs) and Ja’Marr Chase (1455 yards and 13 TDs) could have fun. The rookie also comes out of a new capital performance for his first playoff match (9 receptions for 116 yards). A good omen for this trip to Nashville.

Coach: Sean McDermott

Kick-off Sunday at 00:30
Kansas City Chiefs (2) – Buffalo Bills (3)

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He had been very annoyed after the defeat against the pats at home when a journalist had insinuated that Bill Belichick had dominated it in large widths. This time, he had to have a smile on his face last Saturday when he appeared at a press conference. His team had just rolled over New England to qualify for the next round without any contestation. And if we necessarily praised Josh Allen, author of a perfect match (308 yards and 5 TDs + 66 yards running), or the still solid defense, the great architect of this victory is also called Sean McDermott. Since his arrival on the side ofOrchard Park, the franchise has only progressed. Even to the point of reaching the conference final last year. This season, buffalo must do at least as well, if not better. For that, it will be necessary to bring down their executioners of 2020.

That’s good, again Sean McDermott has revenge to take. Last year, he was not entirely blameless in his team’s heavy defeat against the Chiefs. buffalo had been dominated in all areas, including coaching. On Sunday, he will have another chance to compete with his mentor: Andy Reid. Under his orders for almost ten years at Philadelphia, McDermott learned a lot from one of the best coaches in the 21st century. Now is the time for the student to surpass the master. For this, it will be necessary in particular to control the attack of Kansas City. It was she who had hurt the bills a year ago and it’s still on this squad that Kansas City account to reach a fourth straight conference final. AT buffalo to prevent it.

The stat: 8-0

Kick-off in the night from Saturday to Sunday at 02:15
Green Bay Packers (1) – San Francisco 49ers (6)

This is the balance sheet of Packers at home this season. And even if the calendar has not always been the most difficult in Lambeau Field, they were able to remain undefeated. A lot of confidence for them who attack the playoffs, after a week of rest, by the reception of 49ers. You have to be strong to beat Green Bay in the Wisconsin. The last ones who did it just ended up being champions (victory of Tampa Bay in the conference final NFC last year, 31-26). Wider, Aaron Rodgers and his teammates have a record of 24 wins for only 3 losses home (including playoffs) since Matt LaFleur is in charge of the franchise. The 49ers and Kyle Shanahan know the magnitude of the task ahead of them. The technician has not always had success against the one who was part of his staff when he was offensive coordinator at Washington (2010-2013) then to Atlanta (2015-2016).

Since they are both in office, the advantage goes to TheFlower with a balance sheet of 2 wins for 1 loss. What balances the debates, on the other hand, is that the only victory of shanahan arrived… in the playoffs. san francisco eliminated his opponent in the conference final NFC to Levi’s Stadium in 2019. This time the two teams meet in the previous round and the match promises to be exciting. The tactician duel will be watched closely. Kyle Shanahan was particularly good at the start of the game against the Cowboys, before tensing up during the end of the match where everything was not perfect. It front of Packers, it should be good during 60 minutes to put his team in the best conditions. Side TheFlower, his talent is no longer to be proven, but some doubts are still present as to his ability to raise his level in the big matches (cf.: the two defeats in the conference final in the last two seasons). He will be able to prove it in prime time on Saturday.

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The posters

Kick-off Saturday at 10:30 p.m.
Tennessee Titans (1) – Cincinnati Bengals (4)
Kick-off in the night from Saturday to Sunday at 02:15
Green Bay Packers (1) – San Francisco 49ers (6)
Kick-off Sunday at 9:00 p.m.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2) – Los Angeles Rams (4)
Kick-off Sunday at 00:30
Kansas City Chiefs (2) – Buffalo Bills (3)

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